A quality daypack is a hiker’s best friend. It’s great for day hikes, short trips, and carrying your stuff on shorter excursions away from camp. And while many backpacks come with detachable daypacks, a dedicated small backpack can be more versatile and more comfortable than these detachable packs.
A backpack like the Osprey Hikelite 18 L is such a backpack. This is a versatile bag that’s ideal for many different uses. In this article, we’ll tell you all about our experience with the Osprey Hikelite 18 L, how we tested it, and how it performed in the field.
We personally have taken the Osprey Hikelite 18 on dozens of day hikes, trail runs, carried heavy loads, and light loads. Not only have I tested it, a 165 pound male, but our other team members have tested this bag heavily on various hikes as well.
When testing this bag, we considered key elements like: comfort, durability, storage space, ease of use, and versatility in different types of hiking situations.
We have not only tested this bag, but we have tested hundreds of other bags, which helps ground us in making quality recommendations.
Where to Purchase
You can purchase the Osprey Hikelite 18 L (and other Osprey products) at several locations.
Other retailers may have this pack in stock, including your local outdoors store. Shop around to find the best price.
From its humble, one-man beginnings in 1974, Osprey has grown to become one of the top brands for outdoor bags. In its nearly 50 years of existence, Osprey has evolved into a brand that garners admiration from countless outdoor enthusiasts. Renowned for crafting top-tier backpacks, Osprey has solidified its reputation as a company synonymous with unparalleled bag quality.
The excellence of their backpacks is exemplified by the “All Mighty Guarantee,” a commitment to rectify any damage or defects free of charge to the owner. For additional insights into Osprey’s endeavors encompassing environmental stewardship, equity, inclusion, and historical evolution, you can find out more here. We particularly appreciate Osprey’s commitment to local equity; while not all of its manufacturing is American, its overseas operations have had sustainability built in from the beginning.
About the Backpack
The Hikelite 18 L is one of several daypacks that Osprey makes. It is one of their smaller offerings, but it is a day pack. It is a lightweight backpack that Osprey themselves describe as “unassuming.” There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles (ok, there’s exactly one whistle– a safety whistle on the sternum strap), but this bag doesn’t need them. It’s designed to keep your stuff safe and dry while keeping you comfortable. To this end, this backpack has a highly ventilated AirSpeed back panel that keeps your backpack free of sweat and your back cooler and drier. The bag has a hydration pocket, main pocket, side elastic mesh pockets, and a scratch resistant organization pocket for small items like sunglasses, your phone, chargers, and other personal electronics.
The 18 L sized bag is perfect for day hikes in the warmer months, but this backpack is also offered on other size ranges. Read our backpack sizing guide to help pick the best sized pack for your needs.
Here are the key specs for the Osprey Hikelite 18.
|Capacity||18 liters/1098 cubic inches|
|Hydration||Internal hydration sleeve accommodates a 3L reservoir|
|Weight||1.49 pounds (675.85 grams)|
|Dimensions||18.11 in Height, 9.45 in Width, 10.83 in Depth|
|Materials||Main and Accent: 100D nylon
Bottom: 500 D nylon packcloth
|Fits Torso Length||14” – 22” (one size fits most)|
|Fits Waist/Hips||Adjustable webbing hip belt fits most|
|Extra Features||Integrated rain cover, hiking pole loops|
Most retailers listed offer free shipping, including the main Osprey store.
Returns and Warranty
Osprey’s warranty is amazing, one of the best in the business. Most Osprey products (including the Hikelite 18 L) are supported by the All Mighty Guarantee, which guarantees your product for life. Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge, no matter when the pack was produced. If they can’t fix it, they will replace it.
So how did this backpack stack up? Here’s our review.
Comfort | 4.5 / 5
If you’re looking for a comfortable daypack and are happy with an 18 liter capacity, this bag might be your new best friend. It was designed with the same attention to detail as Osprey’s larger, framed packs.
One feature we really loved is the hip belt. Many packs this small do not have a hip belt option, and this one not only has a removable webbing belt but also side padding. This is just one of the features designed for comfort. It is a thin hip belt, so if your pack is super heavy, it’s not as good as a thicker webbing strap; however, with a bag this size, your pack is unlikely to be heavy enough that it would matter.
The other key comfort feature is the ventilated back panel. Combined with the supportive LightWire frame, this bag sits comfortably on your back and helps keep it cool during hot days. This reduces sweating and significantly increases your comfort.
Storage Compartments and Overall Design | 4 / 5
Because this is a smaller daypack, there are a limited number of compartments. It’s got enough room for your daily essentials and has a mini zipper at the top with a pouch for your small necessities. The interior of the pack doesn’t have much in the way of organization– however, you can get around this by packing your things into smaller bags. You can also use something like the Osprey Ultralight Zip Organizer clipped into the top of the backpack for small item organization.
The bag also has generously-sized mesh pockets on the sides, but these just have elastic tops and aren’t the most secure. They’re perfect for stashing snacks, water bottles, or your phone to keep it close at hand– just pay attention when you take the pack off so nothing goes flying.
This pack also includes other thoughtful features. The Osprey Hikelite 18 L has an integrated rain cover and a place to stow your hiking poles. The sternum strap includes a safety whistle, and the top of the bag has compression straps to make packing and stowing easier.
We want to note, that a rain cover on a pack of this size is pretty unusual, so this is an awesome extra feature.
Durability | 4.5 / 5
The Osprey 18 L’s base is made out of 500 denier nylon packcloth, one of the most durable nylon weaves. The accents and upper part of the bag are made with 100 denier nylon, which saves a significant amount of weight and material. This keeps the bag light without sacrificing toughness.
As a note, the surface of this backpack has been noted by others to cause pilling on cotton clothing. While it’s not a great idea to wear cotton while hiking, keep this in mind if you’re using it for daily use.
We have sweat A LOT on this pack, and run through bushes and rough terrain. The zippers have continued to work perfectly, and we have not signs of wear and tear with lots of use.
Price and Value | 4.5 / 5
The price of the Osprey Hikelite 18 L varies between retailers. Osprey bags aren’t a cheap option, but the durability and warranty make up for it. You can feel comfortable knowing that your bag isn’t going to burst a seam or zipper in the field. And even if it did, Osprey has you covered.
While this isn’t the cheapest option for this sized bag, it is fairly priced, and the great warranty and durability make this a very high value.
Recommendation and Overall Thoughts
If you need a comfortable daypack, this is a wonderful option. We love how lightweight it is– it weighs in at less than 2 pounds with a ton of useful features and comfortable design. The hip belt and side panels are thoughtful design elements that make this bag stand out.
This is a great pack for:
- Daily use/commuting
- Day hikes
- Town days on a thru hike
- Travel carryon use (airplanes, trains, etc.)
Osprey’s commitment to quality and warranty make us feel very secure about this bag. We’d recommend it for anybody who needs a daypack and is willing to invest in one that will last a long time and be extremely comfortable.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about